Impressive Moms Dominating the Artisan Space

Indigenous women artisans of Mexico

If we were able to remove the ethnic barriers, religious and cultural traditions we would find that moms across the world are pretty much the same. No matter where, regardless of country or economic background. There is now significant scientific research which documents that a woman's brain, after childbirth, is flooded with hormones that significantly affect feelings, emotions, physiology, and chemical make-up of a mother's brain. Of course, this is displayed in a myriad of ways. Overall, the vast majority of women who bear a child are forever changed by their maternal process.

In a matter of just a few generations, the ability to be a "stay at home" full-time mom has become a rarity.  Now it requires the earning power of both mom and dad to raise a family, but in some ways, many aspects have not changed.  My grandmother was not only a full-time mom, but was also responsible for the many duties that were necessary to maintain the family farm.  She milked the cows, gathered the eggs, planted a huge garden that provided food for family and friends, cleaned, cooked, and was primarily responsible for raising the children. When we began our business in 1983 that later evolved into Zenwaro, our children were 7, 3, and one on the way. Our professions had vanished in the area where we built our home in mountains of Colorado. Mobile phones and even less the internet, were not in in the horizon of our immediate future. Among many complexities this implied that our family was raised in the same four walls and tall ceiling from which we also  conducted our commerce which was an art gallery and custom frame shop. Nowadays, in the US many women are not able to have their young children alongside them while working, so leaving the children in some form of childcare is a necessity for most working moms. But the profession of being "mom" is a never-ending responsibility.

Artisans in Michoacan Mexico

01 A delightful campesina (country-girl) toting her smiling baby through the streets of Patzcuaro Michoacán. She was traveled from a near by village to experience the festivities of Semana Santa (Holy Week) 2016. | 02 The Suarez family exhibiting their family's newest ceramic creations. Each member of their family is a master ceramicist. Exquisitely talented in throwing, shaping, and firing the rich earth from Cocucho Mexico into intriguing works of art 2021. | 03 Lupe and her new born Gorgé, presenting her family's collection of finely thrown ceramics at a local artisan festival in Uruapan, Mexico 2022.

On our recent trip to areas in Central Mexico and on numerous adventures over the past 20 years, we have encountered many women who are the directors of their family businesses. Often these businesses are generational.  The women who are running the show were actually raised in the very artisan craft that they are now administrating. Some actually carry their babies on their backs while moving the business forward and keeping their eye on the daily operations.

Many observations stand out while interacting with the artisans in Mexico. Primarily, they are passionate about their work. They are not driven by the demands of Amazon or any other sales platform that have become the norm for many of us north of the border.  Their creativity and dedication to the artisanal traditions that have been passed on to them are of utmost importance. In conjunction with all of this, they are keenly aware of the environment and utilizing their resources in the most efficient way possible.  If anything can be re-used, recycled, repurposed then these moms optimize.  Broken pieces of pottery are recycled back into future containers.  Piles of broken glass are delivered to the glass blowing studios to be sorted and recycled into new and beautiful glassware, lighting, and decorative items. Scrap iron is reshaped into tables, lighting, and handles for doors and drawers.  Wood is refinished and repurposed for table tops, chairs, and more. 

Along with all of this, there always seems to be time for food, festivities, music  and celebration. The family is numero uno, often we have been honored to be included in these traditions.

With every visit to Mexico we are reawakened and inspired by the dedication of the families, women, men, grandparents, and children who create and carry on the creative process that allows us to bring beautiful hand-crafted items to the United States and the international market, and most often, Moms are at the helm.  

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